Oh Let Us Be Done With This Order

(updated with explanation)

x dominoes in single file

but if one sways one tiny bit

then one by one they all will fall

and on the next one’s back they’ll sit

as bricks in a misshapen wall.

To punish them for being obtuse

a crane lets loose its wrecking ball

projecting in to smash and bruise

the bricks, it overshoots. A train

of goods derails. Its store of fruits

go flying, rolling, down a drain

to hit a rat on its soft head.

It passes out with shock and pain

and drowns. And when they find him dead

his family plot their revenge.

Until that murderer is fed

a poisoned fruit we shall not rest!’

And so all fruits are turned in hand

to search for traces of that pledge.

A rat bite mark? A patch too tanned?

And when at first no sign is seen

they’re turned x times. Regardless, binned.

And so, in time, the trashcan teems

with peeled, uneaten, fruity rot.

The smell turns guilty noses green,

so daily, one must burn the lot.

Bleach is poured over the pile.

The fire, quickened, gets so hot

that blood will boil and turn to bile.

The pyre beckons. Fight it. Set

x+1 dominoes in single file


The dominoes are a metaphor for the rituals that are part of OCD, trying to keep at bay a chaotic reality and unwanted, unpleasant, often violent intrusive thoughts. The relentless rhyming scheme (a-b-a-b-c-b-c-d-c-d-e-d-e-…) is also an expression of this ‘compulsive’ part of OCD. In the poem, as in reality, the compulsions fail, and there is a plunge into the sufferer’s obsessions – in this case about contamination (from rats) and guilt (through having killed a rat, or even imagining having a killed a rat through a tenuous chain of events) as well as suicidal thoughts (self-immolation). The ending of x+1 suggests the cycle will repeat, but will be even more daunting next time. The title of the poem is a syllable by syllable rhyme with Obsessive Compulsive Order!

2 comments on “Oh Let Us Be Done With This Order

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